This first anthology of twentieth-century Israeli literature to feature the work of writers who were born in-or whose families originated from-the Levant, Turkey, Iran, India, and Arab worlds represents twenty-four authors whose concerns with cultural identity, race, class, gender, and political allegiances place their work alongside today's emerging rediscovered and reinvented Arab, African, Indian, African-American, and Caribbean traditions. This brilliant collection makes the emphatic point that translation is of necessity political and gives us ample evidence of those who have been thus silenced. Our imagination of the Middle East and its peoples must alter, reading these completely moving texts by so many diverse writers of consummate authority. Ammiel Alcalay has done us all a great service. --Robert Creeley We need this book! The soil is so deeply mixed, the stories and voices redolent with shared fragrances and new seedlings. Anyone who imagines Jews and Arabs to be strictly oppositional needs to explore the rich twining of roots offered here, and consider how this cross-pollination may hold the hope for the whole region. Ammiel Alcalay is a fine, wise gardener. -- Naomi Shihab Nye Having established himself as one of the most attentive readers of the Jewish-Arab Mediterranean past, Ammiel Alcalay sets out in this remarkable anthology to subversively redraw the boundaries and strata of modern Hebrew literature, introducing to the American reader key-tes that are almost inaudible within the Israeli literary establishment, and tracing the Oriental characters, long erased from the palimpsest of Hebrew literature. --Anton Shammas A Jew writing in Arabic is t read in Israel...' So writes Samir Naqqash. Ammiel Alcalay's remarkable selection of texts is a plea on behalf of Israeli imaginations in spiritual exile. One is driven to meditate on the genius of truth in every re-visionary monument of home. --Wilson Harris Ammiel Alcalay is poet, translator, critic, and scholar who teaches at Queens College and the CUNY Graduate Center. He is the author of, among other books, After Jews and Arabs (1993); the cairo tebooks (1993); Memories of Our Future (1999); from the warring factions (2002); Scrapmetal (2007), and A Little History (2010). He was one of the initiators of the Poetry Is News Coalition, and helped to organize the Olson Now project. He launched Lost & Found: The CUNY Poetics Document Initiative, a publishing venture whose mission is to retrieve and make available key texts falling widely under the rubric of the New American Poetry.
Ammiel Alcalay is a poet, translator, critic, and scholar who teaches at Queens College and the CUNY Graduate Center, where he is the Deputy Chair of the PhD Program in English. His latest work is Scrapmetal (Factory School, 2006). He is also editor and translator of Keys to the Garden, and Semezdin Mehmedinovic's Sarajevo Blues, both published by City Lights.